“When adults say, “Teenagers think they are invincible” with that sly, stupid smile on their faces, they don’t know how right they are. We need never be hopeless, because we can never be irreparably broken. We think that we are invincible because we are. We cannot be born, and we cannot die. Like all energy, we can only change shapes and sizes and manifestations. They forget that when they get old. They get scared of losing and failing. But that part of us greater than the sum of our parts cannot begin and cannot end, and so it cannot fail.”
John Green, Looking for Alaska


People careen through their lives between the desire to fitting in and standing out. In fact I would argue that in our youth this drives more stupid decisions than anything else. That doesn’t mean we don’t make stupid decisions later in life based on this dilemma, just that in our youth the codes seem a bit more dire and your choice between fitting in or standing out seems to carry more of a ‘fork in life’ moment. Heck. I could be wrong. But what I do know is that every young person actively thinks about this. And young people make a shitload of stupid decisions (which we should give them a break for).

But back to that “actively thinks about’ point. Maybe that is where adults differ.

Most adults don’t think about it, they just follow ‘the codes.’ What I mean by that is while the young world may seem like Hunger Games with these choices, the adult world is more like a color-coded world where the colors tell you how to fit in and the parameters to that fitting in. The rules are much much clearer on acceptance and rejection. But. That said, as an adult you do have a choice. But most people as they get older simply default to fitting in on the bigger more consequential shit and make themselves feel better about themselves by ‘standing out’ on some little things. You know. Just to show you have a little color of your own in an otherwise color-coded world. That may sound a bit harsh, but it’s kinda true. While the repercussions of bad choices seem to have a larger social effect when young, it seems to have a larger financial or community effect when old. So? We play the game and play by the color coding.

It may appear like I am saying this is the wrong thing to do. I am not. I am simply pointing out that day in, day out, we make choices about fitting in or standing out. And, for the most part, society, communities, and our individual lives, seem to do okay.

The point I am trying to make, though, is that this means most of a life is fairly constrained if you are not careful. In fact, it could quite possibly lead to a fairly comfortable, but unremarkable, life. To be clear. I know it can be incredibly difficult, and tiring, to make the attempt to position yourself in ways, or a way, to assert some control over your image and business life. But unremarkable is unremarkable in the end. Nothing more.

Which leads me to John Green.


“What is the point of being alive if you don’t at least try to do something remarkable?”
John Green


Really. What IS the point of life if you don’t even attempt doing something remarkable? I mean, c’mon, survival in and of itself is not that remarkable (for most people). I know the world is maniacally focused on success, winning, numbers, and, attempting something remarkable certainly doesn’t guarantee you any of those things. In fact, attempting something remarkable will most likely have a low probability of attaining any of those things. But. The attempt. The attempt to do something remarkable. At least you tried. Anyway. Just ponder about how much we ‘fit in’ day after day, month after month, year after year, and maybe, just maybe, that attempt to do something remarkable will stand out if not to everyone else, at least you. Ponder.

Written by Bruce